The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, argues the state constitution allows only convicted felons and the mentally incompetent to be excluded from voting.
The new law creates a third class of people, those who do not have ID, said Andrea Kaminski, Wisconsin League of Women Voters Executive Director. Critics of the law say it would mainly affect minorities and the elderly, who may not have ID.
Not mentioned in the Reuters article is the effect the law is likely to have on student voters, as most WI student IDs have been disallowed for use as voting identification at the polling place, though some of those restrictions are being challenged via the WI Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election authority, which is interpreting the new measure.
Though the WI bill that was jammed through the state legislature by the Republicans who control it and signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) allows for voters to receive "free" Photo ID at state DMV offices, many of the state's office are infrequently open, and some voters have documented difficulties in obtaining the free IDs even where they were able to take time from work or school and find a way to get to the DMV to go through the tedious process.
In July we reported on the story of a new voter whose residency was challenged after DMV officials rifled through his bank statement to determine whether there had been enough "activity" in the bank account to assure his residency. We also reported in the same story that state officials had explicitly instructed DMV workers to not notify applicants that their ID would be given to them for free, unless they specifically asked for it for the express purpose of voting. Otherwise, a $28 fee would be assessed on top of any costs incurred by the applicant, such as purchasing a copy of their birth certificate or passport or making their way to the DMV.
Kristina Boardman, Director of WisDOT's Bureau of Field Services explained to The BRAD BLOG at the time that the reason they've instructed DMV staffers to not ask applicants if the ID is to be used for voting purposes is because "the statutory language specifically puts the onus on the customer for getting the ID for free for voting."
The frustrating experience of the hopeful voter at the DMV was documented in a video tape recorded during the process which we posted along with our story.
As we also detailed previously, a 2005 study [PDF] by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Employment and Training Institute found that Democratic-leaning voters such as the elderly, ethnic minorities and college students are likely to be hit much harder by the new law than middle and upper-class white voters...